My 5 Favorite Television Horror Shows!!!

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Horror on TV is going through a renaissance. Actually, TV itself is going through a renaissance and just happens to be embracing horror in a big way – perhaps due to the fact that cable shows don’t have to be adherent to network standards and practices and can embrace darker themes as well as, you know, blood.

That doesn’t mean that all good horror on TV has been a part of the current “golden era,” there are still plenty of old gems. And, just like movies, I reserve the right to change up my preferences on a day-to-day basis. I don’t believe in absolutes, moods change. If written tomorrow, this list would be different. A few other warnings, I don’t like ”The Walking Dead” – just preparing you in advance. I should also note that I haven’t seen enough ”Supernatural” to really make a call on it, though I do like what I’ve seen so far.

Head below for My 5 Favorite Television Horror Shows!!!

“American Horror Story”


Notice to American Horror Story – you are on probation and are in grave danger of falling off of this list forever. While I loved the pilot for Coven and a few of the episodes that immediately followed it, the back half of this season was a shocking, monumental letdown. What worked so well for the initial episodes – not giving a f*ck – came back to bite the writers of this show in the ass when it came time to wrap things up. Perhaps planning ahead is a good idea? Mr. Disgusting is correct when he diagnoses the show with “Heroes Syndrome” – if death isn’t permanent (and in this case it’s almost always reversed) where are the stakes? Right now AHS is clinging on to its ranking by the fingernails of its glorious first season, since retitled Murder House.

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer”


Buffy wasn’t always a horror show tonally speaking, but it certainly had enough creatures and horror tropes to ensure itself a place in our hearts. It also happened to be an amazing show, period, regardless of genre. After a rocky start in Season 1, Joss Whedon’s calling card ultimately found its footing in its spectacular second season. Looking at it now, a lot of newcomers might be turned off by the show’s meager budget and jovial attitude, but it was the warmth between the characters and their believable relationships that kept this narrative spinning for seven years. Some seasons may have hit the mark more than others, but there was never a dud.

“Tales From The Crypt”


I don’t know how I got away with watching this as a kid. Maybe the Crypt Keeper’s cartoonish presence somehow convinced my Mom what I was in the hands of safe entertainment before she headed out of the room, but this macabre anthology series became part of my very DNA growing up. Decades later, episodes like the Demi Moore (and Jeffrey Tambor) starring “Dead Right” and the Lance Henriksen infused “Cutting Cards” still pepper my thoughts. For a good long while, these were the strongest morality tales and fables that cable had to offer.

“Werewolf”


This 1987 series fizzled sort of quickly and, to be honest, I don’t remember very many specifics from it. What I do remember, however, was my absolute burning need to see it. I would absolutely lose my sh*t as a kid if we got home late on whatever night this aired (this was back in the day of VCR programming, something beyond my childish capabilities). Something about this show resonated with me so deeply that I’d be remiss if I didn’t include it here. Also, it had four-legged werewolves – a design I’ve always preferred over the bipedal “wolf man” iteration of the creature.

“True Detective”


If you try to tell me this isn’t a horror show I will fight you in the street. This modern day masterpiece written by Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Cary Fukunaga might be wrapped up in the skin of a procedural, but it’s about so much more than that. It might have less gore than something like “Hannibal” (though it does have antlers), but the black heart beating at the center of it is more horrifying than just about anything. Occasionally riffing on Robert Chambers’ “The King In Yellow,” this is the only show on this list that is actually capable of scaring me at the moment. It doesn’t make me afraid for my safety or things that go bump in the night, it makes me afraid of what we all have inside of us and the fate that awaits mankind itself.

 
  • Jasonicus

    I liked the entire season of Coven. You’re fucking nuts.

    • djblack1313

      @Jasonicus, no. the last 4 or 5 eps of COVEN (the eps after it came back from the winter holiday break) were terrible and so SO frustrating that it sorta made the entire season a waste.
      “You’re fucking nuts”. (see, i can say that too). :)

      • Nothing333

        Opinions. How do they work?

  • Fishhookz

    No Supernatural ? Seriously ? And i see more naked in American Horror Story than horror >.<

    • EvanDickson

      @Fishhookz did you read the intro to the article?

      • Fishhookz

        Still Supernatural is better with each season and AHS not so much…

        • EvanDickson

          I believe you and really want to get started on watching Supernatural – but I can’t put it on a list after only catching bits and pieces of episodes.

          • Darkness69

            I agree with @Fishhookz on this one and I can’t wait for you to get started on the best series ever!!! Supernatural!!! Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cake hole!!! :D

          • djblack1313

            Evan, SUPERNATURAL seasons 1-6 i really really liked. season 7 (with the Leviathans) was just barely ok. and seasons 8 & 9 are just ok. let’s just say that at a certain point (i’m trying not to spoil anything) in the show’s run, it mainly becomes the 2 Winchester brothers acting like an old married couple who’s been married about 20 years too long and ALL they do is bicker about it (the “old ball & chain riff. lol).

            i do love the earlier seasons of the show but it’s very meh… and almost EVERY fight/tension/argument the old bickering couple…oops i mean brothers have they’ve had again and again and again and again and….:)

        • Raziel_cz

          I love the first two seasons of Supernatural. What continues – the Apocalypse and another biblic themes – doesn’t really suit the show so much. It’s still ok, with some really good supporting characters, but man, the beginning is so much better. Only thing I don’t like about them is, how little of Jeffrey Dean Morgan they contain.

  • kittysaymeow

    …you either like The Walking Dead or you are WRONG! ;)

    • Fishhookz

      The Walking Dead is awesome, but (spoiler) in the latest episode judith really shouldn’t have come back, like in the comics she is supposed to be dead >.< and i don't think the serie is getting better somehow…

      • djblack1313

        @Fishhookz,

        i agree 100% that they should have just left it with Judith having been killed (offscreen) during the final prison attack. they had successfully “killed” her off! why bring her back?!

        i admit Judith being alive and the return of Carol (i adore Melissa McBride!) were 2 things that totally surprised me though.

  • creepy-glowbugg

    True Detective is wonderfully written and very well acted. I love it! The characters are so multifaceted and really keep me guessing. It ranks right up there with Hannibal for me.
    Must see TV!!

  • WineandWatch

    Glad to see you pointed out the weakness of Coven. I think Asylum is my favorite seasons because I thought Murder house petered out a bit at the end (although I still like it as a whole). Asylum wasn’t afraid to GO THERE and the ending was very cathartic for the audience.

    You will get shit for not liking The Walking Dead in these comments but I do agree with you (granted I haven’t seen any of Season 4 so maybe it’s gotten better).

    And YESx1000 to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I wasn’t allowed to watch it growing up so I ended up watching reruns on FX when my parents didn’t know (I know own the complete series as well as Angel). One of my favorite shows of all time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.dimler Chris Dimler

    Where the fuck is masters of horror. Some of these shows, you’d have to use the word horror very loosely.

  • Mucey

    I think Fear Itself deserves a mention. It did have a few bad episodes, but that happens when each episode is a different story. The good ones are very good, however.

    • djblack1313

      @Mucey, i too really liked FEAR ITSELF (“Eater”, “Skin & Bones” and “New Years Day” being my faves).

      • Mucey

        Yep, definitely those three plus “Family Man”!

  • Blood-Sicles

    I completely agree with the opinion on American Horror Story. I absolutely HATED that people came back to life. Plus watching witches get successfully attacked by humans had me pulling my hair out (Seriously, you can bring the dead back, but you can’t fight a regular dude?) By the end of the season, I disliked most of the characters, and all of the promising plot twists were thrown out the window. Too much focus on chaos and costume design, and not enough focus on making a compelling story. I didn’t hate it, but I’m glad I have a year to get the bad taste out of my mouth before the next season airs.

  • Skull-And-Crossbones

    @EvanDickson
    i don’t know if you’ve ever heard of this show or not but if you haven’t, you NEED to watch Fear. fantastic show that was only on for 2 seasons back in ’00 and ’01. hard to find the episodes now though. you gotta look on youtube or download the series from a torrent site because MTV never released them on DVD or anything.

  • undertaker78

    I respect your opinion Evan but this is the first time I probably disagree with most of your list.

    My top 5 would be:

    1) Tales From The Crypt (1989-1996)
    2) The Walking Dead (2010– )
    3) Supernatural (2005– )
    4) Haven (2010– )
    5) Masters of Horror (2005/2007) / Friday the 13th (1987–1990)

    I’m surprised not to see Freddy’s Nightmares, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Tales from the Darkside or Fear Itself as choices over many on the list.

    • thewerepuppygrr

      I guess everything is subjective, as I certainly wouldn’t choose Supernatural over Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or even The Walking Dead over…well, here are my choices:

      - The Twilight Zone (sets the standard)
      - Salem’s Lot (1979)
      - Buffy the Vampire Slayer (for The Gentlemen, Der Kinderstot and the alternate world story)
      - American Horror Story (I feel the same way about Coven, I haven’t seen Murder House, but Asylum is a masterwork).
      - Dead Set (much more exciting than The Walking Dead)

      I consider Hannibal and Dexter (the first few seasons) more crime shows than straight-up horror so I didn’t include those. Psychoville and The League of Gentlemen are too comedic I guess but they’re great horror shows. The X-Files could be scary but it’s more sci-fi. I also really like Bates Motel but I don’t find it scary – yet. I’d like to see Twin Peaks, as I suspect that would make it onto the list.

    • Darkness69

      I definitely agree with you on Supernatural and Masters of Horror. The latter had some pretty sick entries! Of course, I can’t say much about Supernatural other than it’s my favourite show!

  • Sil Perez

    True Detective is what doesn’t make me feel an orphan after Breaking Bad ended.

  • http://mitchmacready.blogspot.com/ Zombie-Killa

    “if death isn’t permanent (and in this case it’s almost always reversed) where are the stakes?”

    Coven is my favorite season of AHS (Murder House #2 for me, and I HATED the second half of Asylum), but it’s hard to disagree with this. This might be a weird analogy for some, but it’s the same reason why I couldn’t stand Dragonball most of the time. What’s the point of having all these big dramatic death scenes, when you’re just going to use the Dragonballs to bring them back? Miraculous resurrections undermine the intended emotional gut punch (except for Madison’s death at the mid way point, because everyone hated her for being a spoiled, whiny brat. lol) reaction for said deaths. The Majin Buu saga is the best example for Dragonball.

    Still, I thought the season finale for Coven was satisfying enough, because everyone got what they deserved (especially Fiona, Madison, & Cordelia).

    • djblack1313

      @Zombie-Killa, NO WAY!! lol. Misty Day did NOT deserve such a lame fate/death (where NO ONE was sad she died! Cordelia cried for literally 4 seconds then went on to play games with the girls. LOL). i’m so disappointed that out of ALLLLLL the characters to kill off or kill off lamely they chose Misty (who along with Cordelia IMO was the most interesting, sweetest, most excited to be a witch character the show had?!!). they should have had Misty survive (and either Queenie or Zoe die) and end up being Cordelia’s bff/right hand person at the school!

      • http://mitchmacready.blogspot.com/ Zombie-Killa

        LOL! Sorry, I forgot about Cordelia……again. Funny thing is, I was talking about the finale with someone else, and I pretty much said what I posted above, and that someone else said, “What about Misty Day?” And I had a “Oh….yeah. Forgot about that!” reaction lol.

        Yeah, you’re 100% right. Misty DID NOT deserve a lame death like that, and to make matters worse, she had to SUFFER, and no one really cared (with Madison as the ring leader for the “Screw Misty, she’s gone!” mindset. lol).

        She had a good heart, and was stabbed in the back by Madison, so he deserved a second shot at redemption, (and for me the trials don’t count. lol).

        About your choice of who should die between Queenie and Zoe, I would’ve chosen Queenie. Remember how she joined up with Marie, and embraced her role as a traitor with this “I’m going to help Marie destroy the Coven!” attitude, AND she treated Cordelia like a piece of trash, when she returned? Yeah, definitely Queenie. lol.

        • djblack1313

          @Zombie-Killa, RIGHT?! lol. what Evan said (in this article) about AMERICAN HORROR STORY is EXACTLY how i feel about the show now. season 1 is awesome and my fave but season 2 (while having an AMAZING performance from superb Sarah Paulson) was a cluster fuck writing-wise. COVEN started off so good and had all the ingredients of being a great season but once again, Ryan Murphy (and his writers) fuck it up and rush job/write on the fly the last 4 or 5 eps.

          apparently Murphy has a nasty track record of having great season 1′s of his shows (GLEE, NIP/TUCK, etc) but they become dramatically worse and worse with each season/ep.

          not to sound over-dramatic but i’ll never be ok with how they wasted Lily Rabe/Misty Day this season.

          • Chrissie-Watkins

            Misty’s end actually haunts me, I can’t believe they did her like that. My vote would have been for Queenie, too, banished forever to Popeye’s or wherever that was.

          • http://mitchmacready.blogspot.com/ Zombie-Killa

            “apparently Murphy has a nasty track record of having great season 1′s of his shows (GLEE, NIP/TUCK, etc) but they become dramatically worse and worse with each season/ep.”

            I haven’t seen the other shows, but this problem is SO obvious in Asylum and Coven (especially Asylum, IMO). Ugh, I hope season 4 doesn’t fall apart at the end, or I’ll have to look for a new horror show. lol.

  • Ciristhan

    Odd list. Why no Hannibal? Probably the best horror-ish series out there.

    • Fishhookz

      Yes! Hannibal is in my opinion one of the best shows at the moment!

  • Taboo

    Tales from the Crypt and The Walking Dead!

  • djblack1313

    i’d say INVASION (on ABC). even though it only lasted one season, it was part INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and part NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. i’m still not over that show being abruptly canceled (and this was back in 2005!!).

    • undertaker78

      I wanted to include Invasion in my list (I watched religiously each week) but I’m still pissed that they canceled the show after one season. It could have been an epic series but I feel there were too many cooks in the kitchen and the series suffered as a result.

      • djblack1313

        @undertaker78, awesome! it’s nice to finally talk to someone who loved (or liked!) INVASION as much as i did. we’ll never know if Larkin (and baby) ever came out of that ocean! :(

  • SaltSlasher

    I was sure Walking Dead was going to be on their….

    I wished Hannibal Lecter’s show was going to be more scary than “CSI” style. Even Dexter isn’t as good as I thought it was going to be.

    My 5 off top of my head:
    Tales from the Crypt, Tales from the Darkside, Walking Dead, Twilight Zone, and Adams Family.

    • undertaker78

      It seems like a prerequisite for the writers on BD to hate The Walking Dead. lol Just kidding… or am I?

  • SuperKilla

    That is exactly how I felt about that show Werewolf when I was a kid, used to record it on the vcr and would go bananas if I missed one minute.

  • macguffin54

    I’m sorry… “Werewolf” yes but “Walking Dead” no? It may not be the greatest show ever but it is the most “horror” of any show on TV ever (most other shows that tried to be horror were campy or downright comedies, or they were more mystery/thrillers.) AHS- i only saw season one and was not impressed. It seemed like horror made by people I didn’t know horror who were making the story up as they went along. It felt very clunky. (It felt to me that AHS was to horror what McDonald’s is to gourmet cuisine.). Maybe it’s gotten better? Also, no Tales from the Darkside? No Night Gallery? No Angel? (It was inconsistent, but when it as good it was great.)

  • EvanDickson

    @macguffin54

    To me the memories of Werewolf are more exciting than the current Walking Dead.

    To me it’s not about what’s the “most horror”, but what I enjoy. That’s why I put the “my” in the title.

  • Chrissie-Watkins

    I haven’t read all the comments, but I wanted to mention that there was a series on called Monsters when I was a kid that I went ape shit for. I couldn’t miss an episode. Kind of the same as the Tales series.

  • CTHL

    Crypt, agreed… the greatest show ever in fact.

    The rest, no fuckin way! (AHS is ok, but not top material!)

    Masters of Horror (as long as it wasn’t a Mick Garris one)
    X-Files
    Hammer House of Horror
    Twin Peaks (ignoring most of season 2)

    …and if Masters of Horror doesn’t count (it’s more a collection of editted down movies than it is a tv series), American Gothic has a special place in my heart, Bruce Campbell covered in beetles.

    Honorable mentions: Twilight Zone, Tales from the Darkside, Outer Limits.

    Dishonorable mentions (that have been mentioned): Buffy and Supernatural. Seriously? I now know I regular the wrong site.

    • CTHL

      Forgot to note that I haven’t caught True Detective yet, so no opinion there.

  • doomas10

    Bloody disgusting lately has been posting some seriously nice and intriguing articles. I love this website! Buffy – I finished just a month ago – is an amazing show. While not as scary or bloody as others, there are still some pretty gruesome elements while others are terrifying tense – season 1- that freaking puppet! or Hush! Everyone seems to be raving about American Horror Story but I have not seen it yet.

  • blake3371

    Great list. I’m only on the third episode of True Detective, which is definitely interesting but slow so far.

    I definitely loved Coven, as obvious as got towards the end. Guessed the “real” supreme half-way through the season, which I ended up being happy with.

    Supernatural — I just couldn’t get into. Binge watched the entire first season, and enjoyed it for the most part but it ultimately didn’t grab me enough to go any further.

  • Joey

    MY Top 5 Horror TV SHows
    #1 Of course AHS Asylum is the most disturbing season yet my favorite is Coven.
    #2 Dexter
    #3 Hannibal loved the first season cannot wait for season two.
    #4 The Following Joe Carol and his followers are always up to something evil!
    #5 Bates Motel always loved Norman Bates!

  • ClericMarshall

    I enjoyed Angel more than Buffy The Vampire Slayer, as for other shows, don’t know if it should be considered horror but I enjoyed a French show called Les Revenants aka The Returned.

  • illberightback

    My top 5 horror TV shows maybe a little personal, but here it goes.

    1. Spawn – the only animated show I will put even though there is lots of ANIME that I can add like Death Note, Hellsing, Paranoia Agent, Akira,

    2. Todd & The Book of Pure Evil – metal geek horror at its finest. I blasted through this show so quick, and was sad to see it end.

    3. American Horror Story – just a magnetic show. You HAVE to watch, because you just don’t know what wacky turn they will take next. Jessica Lange is what keeps me coming back every year.

    4. Supernatural – this show is on it’s 9th season, and still remains charming, and fresh with new monster ideas, while continuing to take surprising turns. seasons 7 and 8 weren’t the very best the series has to offer, but I think season 9 has been very good so far.

    5. Tales From the Crypt – obligatory. Prob the most recognized horror TV show. The Chistmas episode, and Television Terror would be my all time favs. HBO needs another real horror program (True Blood… meh)

    Very big honorable mentions go to …

    The Walking Dead – I was blown away by the first season, and am still waiting for the show to live up to that standard. I’ve caught random episodes every now and again, and the new season shows promise.

    Are You Afraid of the Dark – cmon, shows like this are sorta responsible for introducing me to horror. This show, combined with Goosebumps books, is how I got my horror fix as a kid.

    Courage the Cowardly Dog – comparable to today’s Adventure Time, CCD was a kids show that adults could watch,with their kids even, and just smile at all the strange references to horror and sci-fi. They weren’t really disguised, because CCD is a true horror show about a cowardly dog running away from all sorts of monstrosities, on an isolated cabin house….

    Scooby Doo – umm lets add another dog to the list. I don’t think anyone from the ages of 15-50 can say they didn’t at least grow up with Scooby, or watch him with their kid on a weekly basis. Yes, in the end, all the incidents just turned out to be unhappy businessmen, but the set up was always some strange happening, whether it be a ghost,werewolf, or hypnotic clown…

    Teen Wolf – I’m not gonna lie, this show has continually impressed me since the first season. Sure by this point, the formula of these kids repeatedly being attacked by different evil entities is sorta Harry Potter-ish, and repetitive, but there’s a great cast, and a surprising awareness to keep the Twilight aspects to a minimum (they are there, it’s MTV afterall). The first season sets the tone for what’s to come, but I just wish they would have continued on with the beastiary book, instead of just having a new random thing appear over and over.

    ————–

    I deliberately didn’t include True Detective. If I didn’t, then I would have to include Twin Peaks, as well, and I don’t believe either of them are horror.

  • Evan3

    Where in the hell is the Twilight Zone? It is one of the best shows of all time period. Also Evan, you are crazy about AHS. Was Coven a huge letdown? Yes. But Assylum was quite simply the best season of any pure horror show ever.

  • c-s-a78

    what about American gothic?that was unreal.and now compared to the crime show shit they keep making!i always wondered where season 2 would of went if it continued?!?